The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau has announced that his government in partnership with a Non-Government Organisation Rainbow Road will offer safe haven for all people that identify as LGBTQ and welcome them to Canada for protection.
Trudeau made the announcement over the weekend urging that the campaign is mostly for those that are being persecuted and experiencing violence or discrimination. He said these will find a “safe home in Canada”
This comes after Trudeau castigated Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni for signing into law, a Bill that criminalizes Homosexuality.
Trudeau said that Uganda’s Anti- Homosexuality law is appalling and abhorrent, and “we strongly condemn it”.
He said that Canada would continue standing up for the rights of Homosexuals both home and away, urging that no one should live in fear because of who they are.
“Through this program, Rainbow Railroad will act as a trusted partner that can refer LGBTQI+ persons for resettlement to Canada,” a statement from the government of Canada reads in part.
Speaking about the campaign, Trudeau said that Canada continues to be a destination of choice for people looking to start a new life with new opportunities for themselves and their families.
“Together with Rainbow Railroad, we will help LGBTQI+ people start a new, safe chapter here in Canada.”
Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in Canada on his part said that in many parts of the world, LGBTQI+ people face severe discrimination and are criminalized just for being who they are.
“This is why Canada continues to step up and do more to protect the rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people. This new partnership with Rainbow Railroad – making us one of the first countries to have such an arrangement with an LGBTQI+ organization – helps Canada continue to be a safe haven for LGBTQI+ people at risk around the world. It will also better equip us to respond to emerging situations anywhere in the world,” he said.
This partnership is the first LGBTQI+-specific refugee program involving direct referrals with any government worldwide.
Through this partnership, Rainbow Railroad will act alongside agencies like the UN Refugee Agency working with the Canadian government to refer at-risk LGBTQI+ persons for resettlement in the country.
“As the number of displaced LGBTQI+ people around the world continues to grow, so does the number of requests for assistance for Rainbow Railroad. In 2023, we have already received over 4,100 requests for assistance, and are averaging 10,000 a year. Even though we have been able to move many people to safety, many are still waiting for assistance — mainly due to a lack of government partnerships for onward movement. To address this need, we have advocated for direct referral partnerships with governments worldwide for several years and have had success on a case-by-case basis. We are delighted that Canada has stepped up as the first country to partner with us in this capacity and hope other countries will follow suit,” a statement from Rainbow Railroad reads.
Meanwhile, at one of the events over the weekend in Canada, Trudeau presented a freedom award to Uganda’s lead petitioner against the Anti-Homsexuality Act, Dr Frank Mugisha.
Mugisha has spent the past few weeks on a European tour to mobilize support for his Constitutional court petition against the Act, which criminalizes anyone identifying as LGBTQ.